Facebook chooses friends and family over celebrities in your feed, which is probably healthy

Ian Paul
30 June, 2016
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Facebook-graph-search-feature-macworld-australia1For Facebook nothing is more important than keeping you engaged with your news feed. That’s why the company announced on Wednesday that it would prioritise posts from your friends and family in your news feed over those from Facebook pages for celebrities, politicians and brands. The change will roll out to all users worldwide in the coming weeks.

Facebook also took this opportunity to publicise a News Feed manifesto. It’s a set of guidelines – Facebook calls them values – that informs the company’s decisions on how best to adjust the news feed for its users, Facebook news feed chief Adam Mosseri explained. Facebook has been using these guidelines for years, Mosseri added.

Why this matters: If this all sounds familiar, it’s because Facebook made a similar announcement in April 2015. Back then Facebook wanted to strike a better balance between friend and pages content. But now it appears the company is aiming to put family and friends way ahead of everything else, which is probably as it should be.

How Facebook will prioritise your news feed

You can check out the news feed manifesto for yourself on Facebook’s site, but here are the basics:

Facebook says posts from family and friends always come first, and over time the company learns which posts from among your family and friends it should prioritise further. Additionally, Facebook believes your news feed should inform you based on your interests for hard news stories, celebrity gossip and so on. Plus it wants to make sure your news feed entertains, because you can never get enough cat videos. In other words, it won’t be completely about family and friends – you’ll still see posts from your favourite news sources and internet memes from George Takei.

The company also says the social network should be “a platform for all ideas”, which is a clear nod to recent criticisms that Facebook was suppressing politically conservative viewpoints – unwittingly or otherwise.

Facebook goes on to explain that it strives to show you stories that you consider genuine and not clickbait. Finally, Facebook says it’s always iterating on the news feed, and that it wants you to control what you see with per-post options to hide and unfollow, as well as the ‘see first‘ setting to manually rank your Facebook friends and pages.

What Facebook doesn’t mention about control is that it still won’t let you default to see the most recent posts first – a setting that is as close as Facebook gets to a Twitter-like feed that shows you everything

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